From agility to fragility in a few simple steps

This article was meant to be called “Sound on ESX and killing VMs (again)”, but I decided to go with something a little more catchy. Recently I was fortunate enough to get a message from a colleague describing his descent into a “shame spiral” as a result of attempting to add sound capabilities to a guest running on ESX 3.5 Update 3. I’ll go into some of the reasons you would think that’s a good idea later, and why it isn’t a good idea, but suffice to say that things were a bit of a mess by the time I got the call. I’ve covered this before, but the following link provides some useful hints on killing off a VM that just won’t die. The following lines, taken from here are what caused the problem in the first place:

sound.present = “TRUE”
sound.virtualDev = “es1371”
sound.fileName = “-1”
sound.autodetect = “TRUE”
sound.startConnected = “TRUE”

The end result of these guest shenanigans resulted in a broken VM, and when my colleague tried to create a new VM from the existing disks, they were still in use. I ended up using the vm-support method to kill the process. This is outlined here. I also learnt that ps -auwww will give you the number of columns you’ll need to make sense of the ps output if you want to use the ps command from the Service Console.

The following link provides info on sound in ESX. Now, you might think that you need to output sound in your ESX environment, particularly if you’re doing stuff with VDI and XP guests, or perhaps running monitoring software and wanting to make it go “bing”. But you’ll need physical sound cards in your ESX boxen, and I’m not entirely convinced that it will either work, or is really supported. While I admire people on the forums who put workarounds out there, I think this is a good example of YMMV. Well, if you still think this is a good idea, but don’t have a sound card, like these guys, you could try something like Virtual Audio Cable. Hell, people have even got it working with TVersity encoding but you’ll notice that they haven’t got any, like, sound, coming out of the boxes yet. Woohoo!

One Comment

  1. Rather interesting. Has few times re-read for this purpose to remember. Thanks for interesting article. Waiting for trackback

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